CHICAGO – While the Glenbard Hockey team would have loved a different result, playing in the state championship game at the United Center for the second time in three years is no small feat.
In 2012, the squad beat Bartlett 2-1 in overtime to capture its first title. This time around, Glenbard fell 3-0 to Waubonsie in the Blackhawk Cup Combined Division final on March 20.
“The kids had a goal from day one and that was to get to the United Center, and they worked hard all season long to get that goal,” Glenbard coach Jason Hawkins said. “To get to that goal wasn’t easy. Being the No. 7 seed, we were the underdog in both the quarterfinal and semifinal, but we were able to pull through.”
Glenbard had played Waubonsie five times during the regular season, going 1-3-1, though two of the losses were by one goal.
“We knew we could play with them,” Hawkins said, “but they just had our number on [March 20]. I thought we outplayed them in the first period, but they scored with seven seconds left in the first and we had trouble rebounding after that goal.”
The squad wrapped up the season with a record of 32-19-4. Matt Bosler topped Glenbard with 53 goals and 60 assists for 113 points. Nick Pietro added 45 goals and 30 assists and Matt Letmanski totaled 26 goals and 21 assists.
Other offensive contributors included Sam Weiss (19 goals and 24 assists), Ryan Kelly (13 goals and 31 assists), Chris Conklin (12 goals and 26 assists) and Connor Ruffolo (11 goals and six assists).
“Matt [Bosler] and Nick were the two main guys who put the puck in the net,” the coach said. “But what made us successful late in the season was we got scoring from all of the lines. We got more balanced as the year went along.”
Joel Mayo, who was in net during the playoff run, finished with 12 wins on the year. Sean Mitchell recorded 13 victories in goal and Jim Bertane had seven.
The defense in front of the netminders was led by the duo of Kevin Gould and John Bertane.
“Joel was the back-up goalie on the team two years ago,” Hawkins said. “He didn’t get to play in those state tournament games, but towards the end of this year he really stepped up his game. You could tell this year was his time.
“And Kevin and John were our top defensive pairing this season. We matched them up against the other team’s top line when we could and they did a phenomenal job.”
The team will lose 11 players to graduation.
“That’s a lot, but we do have seven returning players and one of our goalies,” Hawkins said. “Having that chance for a state championship will motivate these players even more and hopefully some of the guys from the JV team will step up. And we’ll get back there.
“It’s great for our program. We had great fan support throughout the state tournament, and it was good to get the buzz out about our program.”